House bill

House Bill asks Biden to sell seized assets from oligarch to help Ukraine

The House of Representatives on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed a bill calling on President Joe Biden to liquidate seized assets of oligarchs linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin to fund relief efforts for the Ukrainian people.

The “Ukraine Reconstruction Asset Seizure Act,” introduced by Rep. Tom Malinowski (DN.J.) and Rep. Joe Wilson (RS.C.), passed 417-8. The measure is symbolic, as it would not require Biden to do anything.

“It’s hard to imagine giving Russia’s wealth back to Putin when Ukraine is in shambles and Ukrainians are burying their dead,” Malinowski said. in a report.

the the bill encourages the president confiscating assets worth more than $2 million from people linked to Putin who were sanctioned by the United States in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Funds from the sale of seized assets should be spent on helping Ukrainians, including reconstruction of their country, humanitarian aid and technological support “to ensure the free flow of information to the Ukrainian people in Ukraine, including including articles to counter Internet censorship by the Russian authorities”.

The bill says some of the money should also be spent on “democracy and human rights programming and monitoring” for Russians.

“It is high time that Putin’s cronies, who amassed wealth on the backs of the Russian people, paid for their complicit role in Putin’s crimes against humanity,” he added. Wilson said.

Earlier this month, US authorities made their first seizure of an asset belonging to an oligarch friend of Putin – the Tango, a 255ft yacht in the port of Palma de Mallorca worth more than $90 million.

“It won’t be the last,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said of the yacht owned by Ukrainian-born billionaire Viktor Vekselberg.

The American Civil Liberties Union had warned that an earlier version of the bill would have been unconstitutional because it would not have allowed challenges by people whose property was confiscated. A court ruling against the measure could have offered Russia a propaganda victory, The Washington Post reported.

The bill was amended in response to concerns. The version passed by the House calls on Biden to create a task force under Secretary of State Antony Blinken to finalize the “constitutional mechanisms” needed to seize and liquidate the assets.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) discusses the measure with the White House ahead of a possible Senate review, according to the New York Times.

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